Grace Evangelical Free Church

Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."      Matthew 22:37
 

Church History

The Grace Evangelical Free Church of Osburn is a body of believers developed from three different sources in the Silver Valley; Elk Creek, Kellogg, and Mullan.  The first work was in Elk Creek, where an Evangelical Free Church was organized on April 13, 1949.  Twelve members were guided by Rev. Johnson from Spokane.  Later, Pastor Maruice Phfeil took over the work in Kellogg, which had been organized February 6, 1955 with nine members.  The Phfeil's left in 1956, and were replaced by Pastor Earl Matson along with his wife Dorothy.  Both of these Pastors worked at other full-time jobs to support their families.

The work in Mullan began with a Sunday School, under the auspices of the American Sunday School Union, with Miss Christine McDonald and her mother in charge.  Later, Pastor and Mrs. Lyle Vanderpoel and Pastor and Mrs. Mervyn Seashore came to Mullan to direct the work, but both of them had to seek outside jobs to support their families.  The Seashores even lived in the back room of the church building for a time.  When there was no Pastor to lead the group, the WMS of the Pacific NW District sent funds to Miss McDonald, who served as a Home Missionary.  The Seashores left Mullan in 1958, and there is no record of when the church organized in Mullan.

In 1960, Pastor Dave Mullins and his wife Ruth, came from Chicago to be in charge of the Kellogg Church, and the work was re-organized in December, 1961.  Just four days after the re-opening, a seven month strike began at the Bunker Hill Mine.  Because of the deteriorating condition of the Kellogg building and lack of funds to repair it, the District Superintendent and Board recommended that the Church be closed.  The work was then concentrated in Mullan.  In 1964, a vote was taken whether to re-locate all of the work in Osburn, at the center of the valley.

On March 22, 1964 services began in Osburn in facilities rented from the Seventh Day Adventist Church.  There was such immediate growth that they soon outgrew this space.  For over a year, the Church and District Board negotiated with the heirs who owned the land on which the church now stands.  Also included was a vacant lot across the street and two small rental houses.  When the deal was completed, work began on the new building.  Very little of the salvage from the old Kellogg building could be used.  The stained glass window in the present sanctuary and oak pews were the main things that came from Kellogg.

Many local volunteers worked on the building and others came from many of the District Churches to help.  Finally, they were able to move into the still unfinished building in May of 1966.

Members and volunteers continued to work on the building, and the next spring it was finished and ready to be dedicated.  On April 2, 1967 Dr. Arnold T. Olson, President of the National Evangelical Free Church, dedicated the church to the Glory of God. 

In May of 1969, Pastor Mullins moved to Longview, Washington.  An evangelist from Spokane filled the pulpit on Sunday mornings until fall when Pastor Ted Handy and his wife, Hulda were able to move to Osburn.  They became residents in the new Parsonage across the street, which had been built with volunteer help while the Mullins' were here.  The fire in the Sunshine Mine occurred while the Handys were here.  Pastor Handy spent many hours at the mine with the families as they waited for news of the 91 miners. 

Pastor Handy left in 1973, and Pastor Glen and Lillian Whitmore came to minister in Osburn.  The Lord then called them to go to Singapore as Free Church Missionaries.  They left Osburn in June 1977 and a new Pastoral couple, Jim and Jane Van Winkle, came in July.  The Van Winkles stayed until May 1990, and in September Pastor Terry and Dana Brandt came from Seattle to Osburn. 

In the Spring of 1995, Pastor Terry became convinced that now was the time to put a new pitched room on the building since it had been patched and re-patched so many times, yet still continued to leak.  Over the course of three weeks and with the help of many volunteers the roof was finished.

In November 1995, Pastor Terry resigned to accept the position at the Montana Free Church in Cut Bank, MT.  It was then that Pastor Bog and Marcia Camilovic came from Coeur d'Alene.  They commuted from Coeur d'Alene on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights.  In July 1996, Bog was called to be full time Pastor.  In October they were able to move their trailer home to Osburn. 

In the fall of 1998, Bog and Marcia resigned as pastor and wife of Grace EFC.  They felt called to manage a retirement mobile home park in Arizona.

A number of qualified men filled the pulpit with assistance from the Northern Mountain District and Superintendent Rock Stewart.

In February 1999, John McCain came as a guest speaker.  He filled the pulpit a number of times and then applied for the position of Pastor in May and was called to be Pastor in July 1999. They commuted from Spokane.  The groundbreaking for the new addition to the church took place on August 7, 2005.  John and his wife Cinda served until August 2006 when he resigned.

Again, a number of well qualified men filled the pulpit.  In April 2008, John Rodrigues made application for the Pastor position and was called as full time Pastor in June 2008 along with his wife Letha and their family until July 2012.

John M. Contreras was asked and was hired as an interim Pastor from November 2012 to May 2013.  John and Sandy lived in Rathdrum, and were members of the Otis Orchards, WA Evangelical Free Church.  The church Pastor Search Committee interviewed and completed the application process for John and Sandy and on May 19, 2013 the congregation voted to have John Contreras as our Senior Pastor, and June 16, 2013 was the installation ceremony.
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